Changing the World, One Movie at a Time
- Friday, March 20, 2009
It was also encouraging to see the quality of the films. Deservedly or not, Christian movies have long had the reputation of being poorly produced, with unconvincing acting, thin plots, and unlikely scenarios. But nobody can see the films currently being produced by independent Christian studios without being impressed at their high standard of excellence. Much of the acting (often by unpaid volunteers) is equal to Hollywood productions, the special effects are convincing, and the story lines are believable.
One caveat: When my brother and I were growing up, our parents carefully screened movies before watching them as a family to make sure they met our family’s standards of what was appropriate for young eyes. Every family’s standards are slightly different, so I would suggest using appropriate caution even when selecting Christian films.
Among some conservative Christian circles, movies have gained a status almost amounting to anathema. And that’s not surprising—the films coming out of Hollywood have gotten progressively worse and continue to degrade yet further. But does this mean Christians should have nothing to do with the movie industry? We asked several directors, producers, and other individuals the question, “Why film?” Here are a few of the insightful answers we received:
“Film is clearly one of the most influential things we have in our culture today. If you look at the arts, music alone is very powerful, very persuasive. It goes beyond the mental filters to your emotions and into your heart, whether it’s used for good or evil. Then example is very powerful … We can hear stories and that’s great, and our minds can imagine things, but when you see it in front of you, you see an example, and that’s powerful. And then story is powerful. Jesus told parables, characters with different personalities.
“Well, a movie wraps all of those powerful influences together. You’ve got story, you’ve got example, good or bad, you’ve got music in there, you’ve got emotions that can be emoted through that. So it is a very, very powerful tool.
“Now, that’s me logically describing why, but when we look at our culture, we can also see that. I had the privilege of having breakfast with Bill Wichterman in the West Wing of the White House, and he [was] a liaison to [President Bush]. And he explained to us how movies and media and culture are upstream from politics. He said those things are influencing the laws in our nation. And that when our nation is heading towards immorality in their media and in their movies, it causes the whole generation to follow suit, and then our laws and policies follow as well … television shows follow movies … music, so many things. Even the dialogue, the fad phrases of teenagers, oftentimes come from movies, lines from movies they’ve seen.
“So why film? Ultimately we believe God’s called us to do it, but we see why He’s called us to do it.”
Stephen Kendrick, Fireproof, www.FireproofTheMovie.com
“Ken Ham has been featured in numerous films over the last 20, 30 years practically, and most of those have been of documentary format … so the embellished lecture-style film has been very important in our outreach. Film has been more effective, although we’ve put out I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of audio CDs, and with a lecture you would typically think of an audio CD being fine. But actually with DVDs, because we’re able to embellish what the speakers are saying visually, we’re able to do animations, we’re able to cut in b-role footage to emphasize what the speakers are talking about, whether it’s a DNA strand, or a mountain in Turkey, or the Grand Canyon, or whatever it is, just having that visual impact helps the young person or whoever the audience is to remember the point of the film much more clearly.”
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